“13,23,34,53,200,500 complaints. Are you kidding me? “, the boss thundered. He had been upset since morning, partly because we had been slacking off at our jobs, mostly smoking pipe. It wasn’t our fault though; it was a really good pipe. Izik had found this new guy, who would give us like the best stuff and we just couldn’t get enough of it. I think it was imported, this grass…like from greener pastures, literally, somewhere in south East Asia.
Never mind , that was just one of the lesser important reasons why the Boss was upset. The more important reason was he had gas. He had been thundering around almost half the world the entire night before and it had remnants in the morning as well. That was primarily why he was so mad at us. There must be a hell of a hailstorm somewhere.
“How is it possible? Like literally!!!” he jerked me back to reality. I had zoned out in the middle, I hope I didn’t leave out anything important.
“Sir, we don’t have enough resources to support the entire system, it is slightly inefficie…” Odi interrupted. Bad mistake. “Zip it!” the boss glared at the new VP operations. The Russian, I think he is Russian; he doesn’t talk much, instantly shut up, like the cat had caught his tongue.
There was a lull in the conference room, like that in a graveyard. Nobody spoke, or whispered, I doubt any of us was even breathing.
The Boss exhaled. He looked like he was going to calm down now. An expression of relief washed over our face. We all looked at him intently, waiting to give out a verdict.
After what seemed like eternity, he finally decided to speak.
“I have decided. I will have to take things in my hands now. Enough of delegating and sharing responsibility. I had nothing when I came here, all this that you see, I worked for it. I built everything from ground up. Every brick in here is my hard work and creativity. I had no experience, zilch, nada, nothing. I agree, that led me to make a few mistakes in the initial design and approach, which is why I got you guys. To do what I missed. But clearly, you haven’t done a very good job here, have you?” he paused to catch his breath, it suddenly felt like there was a tornado somewhere around, or was I too dizzy. It must be the pipe. I have got to stop smoking at work. I mean, granted this is good stuff, but Burma, or whatever his name is, sells it at a very high price. Izik is a gentle soul, even though it looks like he could rip you in a thousand shreds by just clicking his fingers. He is mostly harmless. Anyway, I have to be more careful, they have been making very weird eye contact with me all morning, and that is mostly when we have to go for ground inspection or some such stuff. I hate doing that.
“Luci! Are you in, or out?” Boss was directly looking at me. The flare in his eyes could’ve burnt mine, so I quickly looked somewhere else. My shoes. Damn, I should’ve been listening. Now, what do I say, yes or No. If I say No, I will have to give him a written record of the reason as to why I am denying this assignment. Then that will reflect in my year end appraisal. Just great! Maybe, I should just say yes. How bad could it be? The last time I took a gamble, he sent me to Germany. It wasn’t so bad, the weather was sharp though, should’ve checked with the weather guy before.
“For the last time, luci. Are you going to come with me on this assignment or not?” , boy, was he angry. “Yes, Sir. I would be honored.” , I said before I decided to change my mind.
“Well then, it’s decided. Michael would go with us as well, out of all you nut heads, he has a better grasp of production. “ Darn it, why Michael??? He was employee of the month for the last, I don’t know, gazillion years and that wasn’t even the worst part. The worst part was he was my older brother.
“That’s it then. Meeting adjourned.” And with this, it was set in stone, our Boss; God was going to visit the earth with Michael and myself, Lucifer. We were to collect our tickets, itineraries and other such documentation from Odin, our VP operations. Man, where was Izik, I could really use some good and fresh air, should call up that other guy, Burma.
It had taken us two long days to get our base camp right. The first stop was extremely important. We had carefully sorted all the accusations, cases pending against god, simple complaints and even suggestions region wise. The maximum complaints came from the African sub-continent. But that was more of suggestions and simple complaints. They had sorted an arrangement outside our arrangement and were just looking for answers. Important as it may be, that kind of attention could render our reputation some harm. After all who likes being grilled for answers? Second, the statistics showed us that Middle-East had a peculiar situation. They were in the top 10 for the unhappiest-from-our-services zones; they did not really have many complaints/questions/pending cases. It looked like they were quite sorted and they weren’t asking god much. In fact, they were even bigger frauds than us (of course, we are in marketing sales), they simply pretended they knew what we wanted, what God wanted. So ultimately after a lot of brainstorming, some gargle blasters and little effort, we got nowhere. So, god, did I mention his stomach was upset, threw a glance at the world map and so sharp was his gas that one single burp burnt the whole map barring the Indian sub continent.
“That’s where we start.” He said before he closed the lavatory door behind himself.
It was decided then. God, Michael and I were taking the Garuda 101(we borrowed it from our Commander in Chief of security, Shiva) down to the stratosphere, where we would catch Air force one down to the earth’s surface and finish the rest of the journey on the orient express which would take us to New Delhi, India by 2 PM on 3rd June, 2015.
Now, whenever we are on business trips with the boss, it’s the best of times. We fly first class. We are constantly fed. This time, however, it was different. God had decided to do a different kind of survey as to why couldn’t we satisfy our customers better. What new products should be launched that are instant hits, or that’s what we’ll tell our shareholders. He decided not to act like god, but, just a measly looking frail human. Not only him, we both were to do the same. If you are wondering why didn’t we stop him from this stupidity? Well, he would’ve fried our ass, like literally.
So, there we were, 2 PM on the 3rd of june, year 2015 and it was freaking hot in there. No wonder people were cranky, the temperature was 44 degree Celsius. You asked someone for the Ajmeri gate side exit of the New Delhi Railway station, and they gave you such angry looks. Anyway, somehow, in spite of the scorching heat, we reached our place.
Now, the plan of action was simple, three people to go out in three different directions, like humans generally do and just observe things around, what do you think is wrong, yeah, like it is that easy. “Put you Business school knowledge in here, do whatever it takes, just get me results.” Boss’s final words before he sat down to fart again. People around thought it was the clouds but sadly there was no rain, which made them angrier for some reason.
At 4 PM, all of us, started heading to 3 different directions. I took the central road, for some reason it seemed like it would be easier for me to study things there. Mick took the eastern direction, and god took the southern bit.
After hailing an auto, whose driver I think ripped me off, I finally reached the cannaught circle, as the locals call it. Did I mention it was hot? I decided if I didn’t want to lose my mind, I should get rid of my hair. And I went straight to someone who was shaving heads and faces. I sat down and asked him to shave my head. After what seemed like a full 5 minutes, he said “there you go”. He looked pleased with himself. I looked pleased with him too. Paid him, boy was my wallet thinning down! I went looking for these people who cribbed so much. I was kind of pissed at them. Who do they think they are? We give them food, water and tress and air and ground. And they crib about it? How dare they! I realized I had never felt so angry in my life before. Was it the heat? I should check up the facts for the winter last term. I spent the entire evening observing, taking notes, making small pie charts for comparison, smoking some pipe, then running away from the cop guy. It was a good fruitful evening and I was pleased with myself.
I reached, a little after 10, Indian standard time, at the shady motel room we three had rented. I heard somebody hurling in my bathroom. I went to check, it was god.
“What Happened?” I had never seen this before, I was beyond worried. “Where is Michael?”
“Oh, you know Michael, he likes to go deeper in his research, leaves no stone untouched. He is probably going to be back in a couple of days.” God said wiping vomit off his mouth.
“What happened to you?” I asked.
“Oh nothing, It was really hot outside and I just didn’t know what to do. I felt like I would fall when I went to this place and they serve this drink there, it’s not as good as the pan galactic juice we get up stairs, but it is pretty good. You should try it. I just didn’t know when to stop. Forgot I wasn’t god anymore, I was human. “, he flashed his teeth. God seemed to be in a good mood. It started drizzling outside.
“Okay, anyway, I have my results here and I might be working towards a great solution here…” I began.
“No No No… We don’t need that no more. See I met shyam, this guy at the bar, he is an engineer. He gave me a superb solution to everything” God interrupted me.
“You discussed this with another human?”
“Not really, I just told him to talk to me like I was god, and tell me what could really be done about the situation with humans. And after about a few laughs, he spilled.” God was really excited about this.
“You told him you were god!?” I was baffled.
“He didn’t believe me! He laughed at my face.” He seemed amused. God continued,”And he told me the perfect solution. ” There was a dramatic pause. Drama was his favorite pass time. God loved theater. If he was not god, he would be a drama teacher in a stupid celestial government school.
“Go on” I said, to give him the said satisfaction.
“We just improve our PR skills. Yeah! A few miracles here and there, a few faith healers…and that’s all. CSR!”
“CSR? Are you serious? Corporate Social Responsibility? ” I was losing track. I hated Drunk god. I mean, this was not the first time. He had always been the last person to be invited to a glug-glug party in heaven! He got just too creative. He created earth in one of these moments, and we were all still suffering for it.
“Are you saying we don’t have to make this trip? This whole nonsense was for nothing! A stupid drunk earth engineer gave you the solution to your celestial problem!” I was truly agitated.
“Who would’ve thought!! And listen Luci, I have been very hard on you, how about You and I go out for lunch tomorrow? These humans have really good food! We’ll go for some kebabs, Shyam told me a very good place. It’s close by, Karol Bagh or something…” He said, “ and don’t you worry about Michael, he is a good strong kid, he will come back on his own. He is just working! I know! That Kid has the potential to be…” I couldn’t take it no more. I shut the door behind myself.
I was wondering if it was time to quit this job, this guy was clearly nuts! He just changed his entire planning and strategy on a puny human’s mind! I was losing my mind, and the cooler was not very effective. It was hardly cooling anything. Least of all my mind! Should I even attempt at explaining my solution to God, but, we all know he doesn’t listen to anybody. I eventually slept angry at the heat, the mosquitoes and mostly at God.
I got up with a heavy head. I wanted to scream for some reason. The light was too bright. Damn it! I wanted to go back to sleep, then I remembered that I had a task in front of me. I went upto God’s bed. He had his head in his hands and he was groaning.
“How are you feeling this morning?” I asked.
“Not too great, how do these guys do it? They drink and go to work and look forward to doing it again. I am telling you I am never drinking again while I am still human. What time did I go to bed last night? I don’t remember anything.” God moaned.
“So you don’t remember your PR skills plan? The ultimate answer!”
“No, that I do. I wrote it down here on my Ipad. See, these humans are not so bad after all…I have everything stored here with time and date. We should get a couple of them for Odi, he keeps forgetting stuff a lot. ” Damn, it. Where did he have the time to get one of those Ipad thingies.
“Fine” I said, “We start the miracles this morning, I will take the same spot.” I wanted to just get out of there.
“Yes, I go to south again…Maybe touch a bit of Gurgaon as well. Oh and here, keep one of these Iphones as well, to keep in touch. While our heavenly radio is out of tune, we can call each other through these little pocket clouds. And, I will leave one of them phones for Michael, in case he decides to come back earlier than we think. ” God waved me out, dismissively.
I stepped out of my room filthy and smelling of sweat. As an angel, I never had to bathe or smell good. However, humans always stank. I would never leave that bug had I created this whole system.
So, there I was back at the circle drinking a miraculously smooth and tasty milkshake, leaving bits and pieces of heavenly miracles here and there. A thief returning the wallet he stole; a guy getting squint eyes because he was eying a girl wrong, a blind guy getting his sight back, a lost kid finding his way to his parents. Small and entertaining. It was almost afternoon, when he called. I totally forgot we had lunch plans.
“Hey god, how is it going?”
“Damn awful! Where are you?”
“At the cannaught circle. Are you close by?”
“Yes, I thought you’d be there. Where else could you be if you were in central Delhi.”
“Yup, meet me at KFC, block B, inner circle.”
“Got it!” and click the line went dead.
After about 15 minutes, I saw him rushing past an orderly, screaming at him to give him side.
“Stupid, idiots, they don’t know how to walk!”
“Hello God… are we having a good time?” I joked.
“I am having the most awful time of my tenure. This place is crazy! I had to take a bus, where one of them guys stole my ipad and my money, thank fully I was playing candy crush on my phone, or that would’ve gone too! I didn’t get a seat for about an hour, and then when I did, another guy shoved me and sat on it. I forgave him, but he accidentally, or so he says, stepped on my toe! It’s been hurting ever since, my pinky toe! I went to help a blind guy, and that guy started arguing with me…asking me to mind my own business! I am minding my own business right now! He asked me to, you know, to…”
“fuck off..?” I chipped in…
“Yeah! How dare he? And it was so hot, I almost fainted twice! The auto driver was asking me all the money that was left on me. I requested, almost pleaded but he didn’t listen!”
The ranting went on for quite a while. I tried to calm him and eventually after a two hour break, we both went back to work. Wonder what Michael was doing…
I spend the rest of the day simply loitering around looking for some guy who might get me my fresh air. But I couldn’t find anything. Finally, I decided to call it a day and go back to the motel.
Nobody was back yet, not God, not Michael. So, I watched something they call porn. Boring and it doesn’t make one bit of sense. Honestly, don’t waste your time on it. But, it did remind me of Camilla…Boss’s secretary. She is so soft to look at. She gives you a fuzzy feeling in the stomach. Maybe, when I go back I will ask her out, take her for coffee…Her birthday must be around.
I must have slept dreaming of Camilla, because when I got up, it was 2 30 in the morning. Where were these guys? An uneasy feeling crept through me…I went to see god’s bed to check if he had tried calling the other phone he left for Michael. That’s when I noticed it. It must have been like that from the evening. But I noticed it now. His stuff was gone. Was he mugged? And kidnapped? Or worse!
I frantically tried his number. There was a ring, but nobody picked up. Beads of worried sweat started forming on my brow. What must have happened? I called again, no response.
“Hello? God! Where the hell are you?”
“Oh! Hi, I can’t believe it catches reception here…I am in Greece luci! I am taking a vacation.”
“A Vacation!? Are you nuts! Why didn’t you tell me? I am here stuck in this dry arid land with no faith, cleaning your mess, and you are on vacation!?”
“Now now Luci, that’s no way of talking to your boss. Well, I was so frustrated with this whole thing, I couldn’t take it no more and I took off…poof…vanished. I should’ve told you but it was very sudden. Let me make it up to you. I’ll give you a fat ass promotion and a big hike…yeah? Let me call you in an hour to get your travel arrangements right. Oh, and Michael is getting married Btw, he found a girl, some Indian demi-god. That’s why he was missing all this while. Can you believe it? But, you’ll know about it from him.”
Was it for real? Let me get up there once, I am going to quit! This is it. Mick goes and screws around and I work my ass off, and God is on vacation?… One more earthly hour, and all this is over. I am going to protest! I will take my people with me!God must be sacked!
One hour passed and then some more. No one called, no arrangements. The number was out of reach and I was frustrated. Maybe, he got something else to do. I took off from the motel without paying anything. I had no money. I was sitting at a curb.
“Hey…psst…hey, you Lucifer?” I looked around. Who here could know my name!
“Yeah, who are you?”
“Iziquel sent me. Said, you might need some fresh air”. This stranger who looked like a hippie, who had really long beard and was well ahead in his age, looked more than family to me at that time! I hugged him and cried! Yes, I cried…with tears and all…not proud of it.
He gave me an understanding look, and said, “You waiting for god to call you back?” I nodded.
“Hmm, okay, if you have to wait. I know this place, near the sea. A lot of booze and stuff, nice Russian girls, it is about a day from Delhi. My friend will get you a job in one of his shacks on them beaches! Don’t worry, I will set you up.”
I swear to god, for once, it felt like this guy had like four heads in all directions. But that’s crazy, right! Even for gods.